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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons) Paperback – 18 Aug 2011


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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons) + Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination + The Wild Places
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Canons; Main - Canons Imprint Re-Issue edition (18 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857861832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857861832
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Emily on 7 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
if you've reached the point of near boredom with the thousands of macho books of near death, tragedy and successful climbs which are typical of biographies and novels of the mountains, then you will find this a breath a fresh air.
Nan's use of language is poetic and beautifully visual and completely different from anything you will usually read about living and enjoying the mountains.

This is a must read for anyone who loves the Cairngorms, Scotland, or mountains in general. But if you simply have a love of beautiful language then you will find this a perfect introduction to the wilderness.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
For those who love the mountains for the emotional, spiritual and inspirational nourishment that they provide, then this book expresses it all in a very personal relationship with the mountains written in both poetic and philosophical prose. Beautifully written avoiding all the usual action, disaster and/or heroics associated with mountain stories.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Living Mountain is Nan Shepherd's love song to The Cairngorms. Many (probably most) books about mountains are written to show man (and it normally is men) on or against mountains. This book is different. This book places the author with the mountains.

This is an intimate and detailed study of the Cairngorms that focuses far more on rivers and light, the freezing of streams and the disorientation of mist, than it does does peaks or particular journeys. In this way the book seems directionless, but only if direction is defined in a geographical fashion. If the direction of travel relates to a journey of understanding then the book is not directionless at all, and charts the authors growing knowledge of the mountains.

If you are looking for a book full of daring deeds and heroic ascents, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a thoughtful account of how people build an emotional connection to a place and how individual aspects of that place can combine to form wonder, then you should read this book.

Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Woodpecker on 14 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is the most incredibly beautiful evocation of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. It is like reading poetry. I was living in Aberdeen in the seventies when it was published, and read it then, and like the author I walked and camped for days on my own in the Cairngorms and came to love their special qualities of light and space, spareness and harsh wild beauty. I met the author once, and was struck by her blue eyes full of the distance. She spoke so lovingly of the hills, and so descriptively. What a pity this wonderful book is no longer in print. It deserves to be. I read an article by Robert Macfarlane about it in a newspaper recently. He has discovered it, and I so wish many more people could do so too. We need wildness for our souls.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By technoguy VINE VOICE on 27 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nan Shepherd achieves in the Living Mountain,an irradiation of the `common' into the `universal'.She is a friend of the mountains and visits them like a friend.She sees the mountain tops as eddies on the plateau surface.This is a pilgrimage of mountain worship. As a'see-er' her empiricism is mystical.Her mineral self gains entry into interior recesses,cavities,hollows,chasms.She sees the earth as the earth must see itself:this is pure intellectual knowledge springing from the senses and the surprise of finding out from long acquaintance,the body itself thinks, knowledge is felt.Our bodies' motor-functions make us precognitively aware of the world,our subjectivity is embedded in the flesh of the world.'Place and mind interpenetrate until the nature of both are altered'.Our contact with nature has become enervated from this being in the world.Her book is a hymn to `living all the way through':to touching,smelling,tasting,and hearing the world.`Matter is impregnated with mind',and the world exists in a continuous `active mood...the grammar of now'.Her phenomenological attention and awareness `widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being'.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.This book is a primer for the senses and the reading of the written word,bathed in a crystal glow of the elements,saturated with Being.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Newton on 15 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply a perfect piece of literature. It is compelling, magical, mesmerising, and an absolute pleasure to read. Read this because you love nature, or the moutains, or read it simply because it is a brilliant piece of writing. If I had to get rid of most of my books and could only keep a handful, this book would be in that handful - because it is also a text to return to time and again.

Once again finding a book by chance in a good bookshop has proven the way to find unexpected gems
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Byers on 8 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If mountain literature were ever to have such a thing as a sacred text, then 'The Living Mountain' would surely be a candidate.
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